Financial Help for Single Mothers in Tennessee


With the current economic downturn, many families have succumbed to the pressures & fell below the poverty line.

The situation does not get any better for single mothers & their families.

The state of Tennessee stepped in with programs that specifically target the needs of single mothers.

The focus on this sector of society is based on the fact that kids from single-parent families are the most vulnerable.


1Tennessee Families First


Families First is Tennessee’s welfare program that provides temporary cash benefits to families with children, and are experiencing financial difficulties. These benefits are time-limited to 60 months in a participant’s lifetime.

To be eligible for the program, you must agree to follow a Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP) which among other things, you agree to work or be in work-related activities for 40 hours a week, unless otherwise exempt.

You may apply for Families First assistance at your local Department of Human Services county office1 or call the Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287.


2Tennessee Food Stamp Program


The Tennessee Food Stamp program provides nutritional assistance benefits to eligible Tennesseans — children, the elderly, the disabled, unemployed and working families. The aim is to serve as a safety net for impoverished families in Tennessee.

To receive food stamp, you must first apply for benefits and participate in an interview with DHS staff. If eligible, you will receive an EBT Card, which allows food stamp benefits to be issued and accessed electronically.


3Tennessee Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)


In Tennessee, the WIC program provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutritious education, health care referrals, and breastfeeding support to nearly 150,000 women, infants, and children until the age of 5 through departments in 95 counties.

Participants must be a resident of the state of Tennessee, meet WIC income guidelines and be individually determined to be at nutritional or medical risk by a health professional.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be issued with WIC vouchers in three month increments which can be redeemed at one of the approximately 1,200 participating grocery stores in Tennessee.


4Tennessee TennCare


TennCare is the State of Tennessee’s Medicaid program that helps low-income individuals and families with children pay for some or all of their medical bills.

It covers a broad range of people, including children, pregnant women, elderly people and single parents who meet the income eligibility requirements.

Eligible participants will receive free medical services such as doctors’ services, dental care, eyeglasses, home care, hospital care, and many other health-related services.


As Tennessee is not expanding Medicaid coverage, eligibility for non-disabled adults will be limited to parents with incomes below 110% of poverty, or about $21,700 a year for a single mother of two. However, you may still be able to get financial assistance to pay for coverage in the marketplace.


5Tennessee CoverKids


CoverKids is Tennessee Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that is funded by both the state and the federal government.

It covers uninsured children age 18 and younger. Additionally, pregnant women who meet other eligibility criteria may also receive maternity coverage through CoverKids.

In order to qualify, families must earn less than 255% of the federal poverty level or about $50,500 a year for a single mother of two.


6Families First Child Care Assistance


Parents participating in the Families First program who need help paying for child care may receive financial assistance with the full cost of child care. No co-pay is required.

Eligibility is based on Families First income guidelines. In general, parents whose incomes not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty level may qualify.


Teen Child Care Assistance. This program is for eligible high school or middle school mothers. In order to receive child care assistance, these young mothers must stay in school. Parents must pay a co-pay fee based on a sliding income scale. For information, call 1-866-827-3372.


7Tennessee Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)


Tennessee’s LIHEAP assist eligible low-income Tennessee households in meeting the costs of home heating and cooling; primarily those with the lowest income, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy.

Eligible applicants can receive assistance once per year, up to $325 for summer cooling program or $250 for emergency heating assistance.


8Tennessee Unemployment Insurance


Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary jobless benefits to eligible workers who lost their job through no fault of their own. The benefits are intended to partially offset the loss of wages, while they are looking for a new job.

Tennessee claimants receive their benefits via the Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP) debit card or direct deposit. The minimum benefit for those who qualify is $30, up to a maximum of $275 per week.

You can apply for UI benefits either online or by phone by calling one of the following phone numbers listed below:

Nashville
(615) 532-1800
Other Tennessee Areas
(800) 689-9799
Out-of-State Claimant
(800) 262-8094


9Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA)


The Tennessee Student Assistance Award is a state-funded grant program that provides non-repayable financial aid to needy undergraduate students who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a public or an eligible non-public postsecondary institution in Tennessee.

To be eligible, students must be Tennessee residents, and must have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $2100 or less. Grant amounts vary, and are awarded to the neediest applicants on a first come, first served basis.


  1. Click here for a list of county offices locations and phone numbers for which to submit your application. []